Chapter 2 – Letter (2)
Amandina was pondering in silence for more solutions before her eyes landed on the pale parchment beneath her lord’s pen. It was gradually turning yellow.
The parchment came from a particular tree from the southern Grinoires. Natives called these trees Duval’s Gold, prized for the creation of thin parchment and equivalent to the value of gold. The completed papers were mostly sent to Seale Ampere, Seifer, Corvado, as well as other rich regions.
However, the transactional relationship between Aouine and other kingdoms were affected because of the brewing civil war.
“My lord,” She suddenly realized something and frowned: “You wish to…… But even if the princess‘s faction is weak, they might not be interested in what we have to offer. In addition to that, the Royal Faction is uninterested in offending Count Randner.”
“You get to the crux quickly, Amandina,” Brendel folded the paper into the shape of an airplane and sent it flying into the bin, “But what if it’s not borrowing strength, but dividing it?”
“This letter is indeed written to Gryphine Corvado Ordelis. As you have guessed, I am doing this to gain a brief respite from the unending pressure on us,” Brendel said as he got up and passed his pen to Amandina, “Here, write for me.”
“A letter to the princess?” Amandina inhaled lightly when she received the pen. She sat down and pressed it against the paper: “What are the contents?”
“I’ll leave the format to you, and the contents are these,” Brendel snapped his fingers as he went to the arched windows.
“On the seventeen day of the month of Autumn Twilight, this letter is written in the city Firburh of Trentheim, and addressed to Princess Gryphine Corvado Ordelis.
There was a battle on the previous night, and it hailed from the Madara’s undead forces, Incirsta the Black Lord.
They had passed through four southern districts unchecked and launched a secret attack on Firburh, resulting in massive loss of lives and the death of Trentheim’s Feudal Baron, Graudin Randner.
I am a Pioneer Knight of the kingdom with the rank of baron, who set forth in taking new land for the kingdom, and successfully became the lord of the Valhalla region. With my dual status as a new Baron and a region’s lord, your humble servant had the duty to undertake the defense of neighboring Trentheim, especially when I had received Lord Randner’s generosity during my journey.
I successfully repelled the undead after fighting through the entire night. However, in order to prevent the undead from invading again, I had temporarily taken up the position as Trentheim’s lord to handle the local administration and defenses—”
He paused for a moment.
“Until Your Highness appoints a new lord.” He watched Amandina write carefully, her seemingly quick scribbles forming into perfect letters.
“I’m continuing again,” he said, “In addition, I have to question Lord Randner’s motives. He had reported no news of Incirsta’s army in the southern region, and allowed Madara’s undead to pass through four regions unchecked. To validate the proof of my words, I have attached a Mana Stone which recorded the battles along with this letter.”
Amandina’s pen stopped, and she looked up. “A Mana Stone? Where did you get—”
Before she was able to finish her last word, there were a few knocks on the door.
(TL: I had to search through chapters to see the reaction on this letter for some additional information. It turns out Brendel didn’t sign his full name. Now, this kind of leaves things in an interesting fashion because I keep wondering about Brendel’s surname and whether his Pioneer Knight has some fake name registered on it. I’m going to assume that Brendel did a crazy perfect job about hiding his identity starting from Fortress Riedon, since the nobles didn’t seem to get any real information about him.)
“Come in.” Brendel said.
The door opened, and the older Wild Elf sister Felaern who came in. She glanced at Amandina before going to Brendel’s side.
“My lord.” She spoke in her usual flat voice, and placed a white sphere-like rock full of intricate sigils onto a nearby table, “This is the item you requested.”
Brendel turned around to look at her. She wore a simple leather armor and dress, with her golden hair braided perfectly behind her head, and appeared tidy and capable like a high-functioning secretary.
“Have you inspected it?” He asked after imagining a pair of glasses on her.
Falearn nodded in response.
[The Mana Stones are not rare but to use them in advance the previous night, means that my lord did not attack Graudin because he was reckless. He had planned everything in advance…..]
Amandina snapped out of her thoughts as she saw him take the Mana Stone away.
Mana Stones were artifacts created by wizards a few centuries ago. They discovered records during the Era of the Silver Bloodlines, where it was mentioned a certain type of quartz was capable of recording approximately for a day or two. When the citizens of the Silver Bloodlines placed them into a Magic Formation, they were able to increase the preservation of the recordings to several decades.
“We need to wait and see what Princess Gryphine’s response is after she read the letter. Although, I’m sure she will make good use of this opportunity since she’s a smart person.” He said.
“My lord, you seem to know her very well?” She quickly found the relevant point with her sharpness.
“She left the Corvado’s palace admist all that turbulence, possibly with only her knight and a few maids to her territory, then borrowed the Royal Faction’s strength to oppose her older brother’s power. Is that level of wisdom still insufficient?” Brendel replied smoothly without batting an eyelid, “Don’t forget this, Amandina, she’s only sixteen this year…… And even if she doesn’t take to my letter’s value, the people around her aren’t blind. They have spent their entire lives in politics inside the royal court, and will understand the intentions behind this letter.”
He walked over to Amandina and took the letter from the table, smacking it a few times.
“Count Randner is a snake who wavers between the nobles, the Royal Faction and the Prince’s Faction. Everyone would be glad to see someone like us, an unpredictable variable that puts pressure on him. That is why the importance of this letter isn’t whether the contents are real or not, but how realistic it appears to be. With this letter, it’s a chance for the Royal Faction to force Randner into compromising—”
“While it is a good choice to be used as a pawn during moments of weakness,” Amandina frowned upon hearing Brendel’s words and refuted, “Once Count Randner chooses the Royal Faction’s hand, we will be discarded.”
“Things are not so simple,” Brendel shook his head, “Count Randner is a cunning old fox who is careful by nature. He will never allow any sides to control him easily. He’s quite indecisive and easily angered, but when he’s being pressured, he becomes cautious. In any case, the pressure on us will be reduced, and from a long term point of view, as long as we have time to breathe, the situation will change for us. Ultimately, it’s our strength that dictates our fate.”
She glanced at him before looking away. He had described himself as a mere Pioneer Knight, but how would one know these many secrets? He knew not only the nobles’ traditions; he even grasped their personalities well. Even prominent children of high ranking aristocrats might not know as much as he did. Even though puzzles about him kept getting unraveled, she was certain that he must have an incredible story behind him.
Surely everyone following him would think the same.
“Is Count Randner truly going to forget about the fact that we murdered his son?” Falearn asked, a little puzzled.
“A traditional noble like Count Randner woule be more interested in power and position, compared to his offspring.” Amandina answered quietly, “Also, Graudin isn’t Count Randner’s only child. However, since it concerns his family’s honor, he wouldn’t let this go unanswered. Sooner or later, we will face Randner’s armies.”
Brendel nodded to agree with her assessment.
“A pawn needs to establish his worth,” he continued: “we have to let her Highness see our pressure on Count Randner. If we are unable to fortify our position, no one will be willing to provide the Venture Capital we need.”
“Think of it like a gambler’s bet.” Brendel explained as he took out another parchment from the drawer, “A great gambler doesn’t rely only on luck.”
The two women nodded to show they understood.
“One more thing, Amandina, copy the contents of this draft to a new parchment,” he said to the confused girl. “This letter is for Leto and the others. I suspect we will fight against Graudin’s remaining retainers and Randner’s armies quite soon. They are the only force outside of Trentheim, and it’s a question whether I can rely on them. As you well know, I hate things that are uncertain, so I want them to give up on their original mission and meet up with me here.”
Amandina opened the folded parchment. A hint of surprise flashed in her eyes as she studied the contents. She thought for a moment before she suddenly asked: “The people from the Viridien village, what do you plan to do with them?”
Brendel had thought about them for quite some time. He was certain that they were willing to pledge their loyalty to him, but their lowly status was preventing them from speaking. He did not mind this point, however.
[There are about three hundred of these Lycanthropes, and their natural strength coupled with the terrible environment of the Dark Forest…… Without any other considerations, half of them should be at Iron-ranked fighters, and is quite a force to have.]
“Aouine’s citizens might not be able to accept the Senia’s citizens,” he replied after a slow afterthought, “the best solution is for them to return to the Viridien village temporarily. Once I reach that place, it will need a large population—”
“A fantastical place called Valhalla, as mentioned in the letter. You will know it very soon. Ah, yes, about the druids, how did they join up with this battle?”
“The druids are a coincidence. When I spurred the Lycanthropes into action, I didn’t know of their existence. But I’m certain…… they were there to find Sifrid.”
“Sifrid?” Brendel’s eyebrow was raised slightly.